Iva Ikuko Toguri
During World War II American GIs in both the Pacific and European theaters of war heard American females on the radio playing very carefully selected American music and extolling the virtues of Japanese and Nazi causes. The female DJs encouraged GIs to stop fighting and constantly made false claims of American defeats and Japanese or Nazi victories. The DJs frequently referred to American units and individuals by name and in some cases mentioned the names of loved ones back home. GIs dubbed the voice from Japan "Tokyo Rose" and the one from Germany, "Axis Sally."
Iva Ikoku Toguri, a.k.a.
Orphan Ann & Tokyo Rose
Broadcasting, WW II
Iva Ikoku Toguri was born July 4, 1916, in south central Los Angeles, the daughter of Japanese immigrants. She was raised Methodist, listened to The Shadow and Little Orphan Annie on the radio, joined the local Girl Scouts, played on the varsity tennis team, took piano lessons and had a crush on Jimmy Stewart. At home, she took care of her mother and dreamed of becoming a medical doctor. To this end, she went to UCLA, where she graduated with a Bachelorâs Degree in Zoology in 1941. She had registered to vote as a Republican and voted for Wendell Wilke in 1940.
When her aunt Shizu took ill, Iva was chosen to go to Japan to represent the Toguri family. On her application for a passport she listed her occupation as "pre-med student."
According to Iva
On July 5, 1941, the day after her 25th birthday, she set off for Japan aboard the Arabia Maru without a passport; the State Department wouldn't issue one on such short notice and had given her instead a Certificate of Identification which it said was sufficient to get her to and from Japan. When she applied to return to the U.S. in November, she was refused on the grounds that there was no evidence that she was an American citizen. She was stranded in Japan when war broke out on December 7 following the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.
She was regarded as an enemy alien by the Japanese authorities, who told her that she should renounce her American citizenship and register as a Japanese citizen. She said that she refused and requested that she be interned with other foreign nationals, but was refused due to her gender and the fact that she was of Japanese extraction. When Doolittleâs Raiders bombed Tokyo she was overjoyed to see the American planes, even as she rushed to take shelter from them.
When her pro-American attitudes caused the neighbors to complain to her uncle about his harboring an enemy under his roof, Iva struck out on her own. Illiterate and almost totally ignorant in Japanese, she taught piano lessons to pay for her Japanese language lessons and eventually found work as a typist, transcribing English-language news broadcasts for the Domei News Agency. Here she saw the names of her family on a list of Japanese Americans interned at the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona.
Also at Domei she met her first real friend in Japan, a Portuguese national named Felipe d'Aquino whom she married after the war. He shared her pro-American views and provided her with much needed moral support. Returning home one night, she found all of her belongings in the street and her boardinghouse room being ransacked by the Kempeitai Secret Police. She again requested to be interned with other Allied nationals, but was told that it cost too much to feed her; she could earn a living.
Poor diet took its toll and Iva was hospitalized for six weeks with malnutrition, pellagra and beriberi. She had to borrow money from Felipe and her landlady to pay the bill and began seeking a second job to repay them. She found it at Radio Tokyo, again as a typist, preparing English-language scripts drafted by Japanese authorities for broadcast to the Allied troops in the Pacific. Here she met Australian Major Charles Cousens, a former Radio Sydney celebrity captured in Singapore, and his associates American Captain Wallace Ince and Filipino Lieutenant Normando Reyes, who had been captured at Corregidor.
She was delighted to meet soldiers who had been fighting for her side and touched by their underfed and overworked haggardness. She took Cousens by the hand and told him to keep his chin up, that she would try to see them as often as she could. Put off by her overt friendliness and pro-Americanism, the POWs initially suspected her of being a Kempeitai spy, but over the next few months, as she smuggled food and medicine to them, they eventually came to trust her. When Radio Tokyo directed Cousens to write a woman DJ into his Zero Hour program, he asked for Iva Toguri by name.
Since their capture and conscription into Radio Tokyo, the Allied POWs had waged a covert campaign to sabotage the Japanese propaganda effort through the use of on-air flubs, innuendo, double entendre, and sarcastic, rushed or muffled readings. When their Japanese overseers were too alert to such trickery, they resorted to mechanical intonations to sound like men being forced to read at gunpoint. Now they had to bring a fourth party into the conspiracy and the only person they could trust was Iva Toguri.
Reluctantly, she agreed. At first, she only broadcast anonymously, but when the Japanese authorities insisted that all speaking parts had to have names she chose "Ann" from the abbreviation ANN for Announcer that appeared on all her lines in the script. Seeing possibilities in this, Cousens expanded the name to "Orphan Ann" and began creating a character to go with it. "Orphan Ann" combined Ivaâs naturally exuberant personality with that of the Little Orphan Annie radio character and tied in with the phrase "Orphans Of The Pacific" used to describe her Allied GI audience. Cousens plan was to turn his program into a burlesque of a propaganda broadcast, a shared joke between them and the GIs.
GI's in the Pacific dubbed her "Tokyo Rose" and the military brass and Americans at home came to know her by that name. After the war, the Army CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps), the FBI and the press continued to refer to Iva by that name as she was taken into custody and brought to trial.
In recent years the "hate America first" gangs have worked hard to blame the government as well as the public for the "gross miscarriage" of justice. Clearly, they say, Iva was "forced" to broadcast for the Japanese and was always a loyal American. ... They know its true because Iva told them so. They like to point to "tangible" evidence: American investigators never discovered any Japanese documents with the name "Tokyo Rose." -- Of course they didn't and of course investigators never looked for any such documents. "Tokyo Rose" had been coined by American GIs.
The history-revisionist tend to ignore another factor, or at least they hope the public will ignore a fact: "Tokyo Rose," "Axis Sally," (Mildred Gillars Sisk) in Germany, "Hanoi Hannah" (Trinh Thi Ngo) in Vietnam, as well as Jane Fonda, et al, were not expected to totally demoralize American troops. ... The enemy expects such propaganda to also RAISE the morale of their own troops. -- And it works, or they wouldn't continue to spend time and money to do it.
Under the Constitution of the United States, treason is the act of providing "aid and comfort" to an enemy. Our constitution and laws do not say that force, loneliness, trickery, coercion, or fright are mitigating factors in favor of traitors. The dozens of Web sites denouncing the U.S. and praising Iva, do not mention American deaths caused by invigorated enemy fighters who were shown that they were winning the war with the proof that Americans had joined them.
On October 6, 1949, Iva Ikoku Toguri, a.k.a. Tokyo Rose, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10,000. She served less than half that time and was pardoned by President Gerald Ford
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